Heyo Initiative to Create 100 Startups, Attract $75 Million, and Add 1,500 Jobs


The Roanoke Blacksburg Innovation Network has announced a new project that will support dozens of startups and bring tens of million dollars to the region.

Mary Miller, the president of IDD, knows firsthand the struggles of trying to get a business off the ground.

"It is very difficult when you're very small and starting. You have to take care of everything," Miller says. "You're trying to hire people. You're trying to get money. You're trying to get into the marketplace, and all of that is challenging."

When Miller started the custom software development house 22 years ago, she says it was nearly impossible to find any bank or person to financially support her startup.

Now, there's a group of people who can help: the Roanoke Blacksburg Innovation Network. The goal is to support 100 startups, bring in $75 million in venture capital, and add more than 1,500 jobs to the Roanoke and Blacksburg region.

"We have built in this region a very strong network of giving people who will take the time to support one another," Miller says.

Nathan Latka, the CEO of the social media company HEYO, is on the board of the RBIN. He says through research the group found people in the area need help getting access to capital, finding a way to retain and attract talent, and having a network to provide support.

"If this network is successful, ideally there's a lot more HEYOs, creating a lot more jobs in a variety of different industries," Latka says.

For business leaders like Marty Muscatello, the CEO of FoxGuard Solutions, and CCS in Blacksburg, this is great news. He says recruiting talent is one of more difficult challenges for the technology company.

"The exciting part for us is the more technology companies we bring into the area, the more talent they are going to brig with them," Muscatello says.

The business leaders involved hope to achieve their goal by using crowd funding to raise $100,000. To donate, click here.

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